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attack help desk growth

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Info-Tech has worked with clients dealing with end user apathy and staff burnout that required a complete resuscitation of help desk operations, as well as clients struggling with inefficient …

Info-Tech has worked with clients dealing with end user apathy and staff burnout that required a complete resuscitation of help desk operations, as well as clients struggling with inefficient processes and strained resources that needed optimization.

This solution set will:

•Identify whether your help desk needs resuscitation or optimization.
•Provide a clear resuscitation program.
•Outline best practices for optimization.
Work through Info-Tech’s client-tested resuscitation or optimization program to improve help desk service delivery in a growing enterprise.

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  • 1. Attack Help Desk Growth Info-Tech Research Group
  • 2. Info-Tech Research Group To resuscitate or optimize? In a growing help desk, that is the real question.
    • Help desk operations that are failing or straining to respond to the growth of the enterprise need resuscitation or optimization.
    • Info-Tech has worked with clients dealing with extreme end user apathy and staff burnout that required a complete resuscitation of operations, as well as clients with inefficient processes and strained resources that needed optimization.
    • This solution set will:
    • Determine if your help desk needs resuscitation or optimization.
    • Provide a clear resuscitation program.
    • Outline best practices for optimization.
  • 3. Executive Summary
    • Help desk operations are the face of IT to the business and a key indicator of overall IT health.
    • Benchmark your help desk maturity to determine if your help desk needs resuscitation or optimization.
    • Help desks in need of resuscitation suffer from a severe breakdown in process adherence, rather than a lack of tools.
    • Optimize your help desk when there is a workload issue aggravated by a shortage of resources, not a fundamental service failure.
    • Managing the help desk as a service is the new normal. IT shops with more than ten staff should ensure they have basic incident, change, and problem management processes.
    • Automation you previously couldn’t justify should be on your shopping list. As you grow, simpler tools are no longer adequate.
    Info-Tech Research Group
  • 4. Info-Tech Research Group Or Resuscitate Optimize Decision Point Define your pain Prioritize your biggest and quickest wins Improve your maturity Define your improvement goals Optimize processes and technologies Consider IT Service Management Reactive Maturity Controlled Maturity Controlled Maturity Proactive Maturity Assess Assess current state against present needs
  • 5. Benchmark your help desk maturity to determine if your help desk needs resuscitation or optimization.
    • Maturity is an important indicator of your help desk’s capacity to deal with growth.
    • Info-Tech’s help desk maturity model defines five categories of maturity: chaos, reactive, controlled, proactive, and optimized.
    • Help desks in need of resuscitation often fall into the reactive category, while those in need of optimization fall into the controlled maturity category.
    • Info-Tech’s “ Help Desk Assessment Tool ” identifies your current help desk maturity level, your optimal maturity level, and suggests improvements based upon peer benchmarking.
    Info-Tech Research Group Optimized Proactive Controlled Reactive Chaos More Research
    • For more information on the help desk maturity model and case study examples of each maturity level, refer to the Appendices.
  • 6. Info-Tech Research Group Or Resuscitate Optimize Decision Point Define your pain Prioritize your biggest and quickest wins Improve your maturity Define your improvement goals Optimize processes and technologies Consider IT Service Management Reactive Maturity Controlled Maturity Controlled Maturity Proactive Maturity Assess Assess current state against present needs
  • 7. Extreme end user apathy and dissatisfaction are key indicators of the need for help desk resuscitation. Info-Tech Research Group
    • Resuscitation is warranted when the following symptoms are present:
      • Unfavorable management attention.
      • Extreme end user apathy and dissatisfaction.
      • Help desk staff burnout.
      • Formation of shadow IT groups.
      • Poor performance measures and performance metrics that no longer make sense.
    • Help desks in need of resuscitation will score anywhere between reactive and controlled in Info-Tech’s “ Help Desk Assessment Tool .”
    • Reactive maturity alone does not indicate the need for resuscitation. Match help desk performance to growth needs by assessing end user satisfaction.
    For guidance on help desk resuscitation, review Info-Tech’s note, “ How to Resuscitate a Failing Help Desk .” Also review Info-Tech’s video casts: “ Is Your Help Desk Drowning? Toss It a Life Ring ,” and “ Rescue Your Help Desk: Common Problems ”
  • 8. Help desks in need of resuscitation suffer from a severe breakdown in process adherence rather than a lack of tools. Info-Tech Research Group Symptom Underlying Cause Cure
    • Overtime is a regular occurrence
    • Above average help desk staff turnover
    • SLAs no longer honored
    • Incidents no longer accurately tracked
    • No proactive root cause analysis
    • Understaffing
    • Help desk staff burnout
    • Identify staffing shortfalls and backfill
    • Honor and reinforce SLAs
    • Stop firefighting and enforce incident tracking
    • Proactively seek out incident root causes
    • Excessive or inappropriate escalations
    • First call resolution rates less than 50%
    • Lack of help desk staff training
    • Train help desk staff to avoid unnecessary escalations
    • Prioritize issues with the greatest number of escalations first
    • Help desk performance metrics no longer make sense
    • Mean time to resolution is climbing while the issue resolution rate falls
    • Lack of management attention to incident tracking and reporting
    • Assign a resource to monitor incident tracking on a daily basis
    • Automatically produce weekly help desk reports
    • IT project resources are compromised
    • Shadow-IT groups have formed
    • Inadequate resource utilization, help desk tiering, and incident prioritization
    • Reorganize help desk staff into tiers
    • Reestablish help desk incident prioritization
    Reestablishing incident tracking is the first step to resuscitating the help desk. Info-Tech Insight
  • 9. How Info-Tech helped a mid-sized manufacturing company survive a near-death help desk experience. Info-Tech Research Group Problems
    • Help desk had difficulty dealing with 30% growth per year
    • IT deployed new business applications with little or no end user training
    • End users were significantly dissatisfied with help desk response times and solution quality
    • Some end users began collaborating to resolve their own issues
    • IT project resources were compromised with help desk activities
    • Management was vocally unhappy about IT’s help desk performance as it was impacting employee productivity and job satisfaction
    Fixes
    • Re-established incident logging and prioritization processes
    • Restructured help desk support into two tiers
    • Hired additional help desk staff and outsourced some tasks to local vendors (i.e. new PC configuration)
    • Designated one help desk staff member responsible for producing and monitoring help desk performance metrics on a daily and weekly basis
    • Established a simple change and problem management process
    • Worked with business stakeholders to establish ongoing end user application training
    • Embraced end user collaboration through the formation of IT sponsored power user groups
    Results
    • Management and end users are happy with improvements in help desk performance
    • Help desk went from an unknown end user satisfaction score to 8 out of 10
    • IT project resources are no longer swamped with help desk requests
    • IT staff are happy and able to focus on their areas of expertise and responsibility
  • 10. Rebuild your help desk to last. Build in maintenance while you resuscitate to ensure new processes are self-sustaining. Info-Tech Research Group
  • 11. Info-Tech Research Group Or Resuscitate Optimize Decision Point Define your pain Prioritize your biggest and quickest wins Improve your maturity Define your improvement goals Optimize processes and technologies Consider IT Service Management Reactive Maturity Controlled Maturity Controlled Maturity Proactive Maturity Assess Assess current state against present needs
  • 12.
    • Inefficient help desks that are failing to meet growth demands often struggle with workload levels and resource constraints.
    • Help desks that have trouble meeting workload demands are not leveraging their staff, processes, and technologies as well as they could.
    • Some may be dealing with staff freezes or staff cuts and need to learn how to make the most of their resources.
    • Most need to restructure operations and implement tool upgrades to meet growth needs.
    • In a typical scenario, help desks in need of optimization will score anywhere between controlled and proactive in Info-Tech’s “ Help Desk Assessment Tool .”
    Optimize when there is a help desk workload issue aggravated by a shortage of resources, not a fundamental service failure. Info-Tech Research Group For an overview of best practices for help desk optimization, listen to Info-Tech’s podcast, “ Want to Save Time and Money? Optimize your Help Desk .”
  • 13. Automation you previously couldn’t justify should be on your shopping list. As you grow, simpler tools are no longer adequate. Info-Tech Research Group
    • Automation enables the help desk to handle more requests with less resources, leaving more time for advanced processes and projects.
    • Info-Tech clients that implemented technologies like disk imaging, remote desktop assistant, and automated password reset achieved savings through reduced tickets and improved productivity.
    • Clients that deployed self-help tools for end users like knowledge bases and FAQs significantly reduced the number of tier 1 requests.
    • For more insight into the cost benefits of help desk automation, review the following Info-Tech resources:
      • Driving Down Tickets (Video)
      • Disk Imaging Improves IT Efficiency (Video)
      • Leverage Resources and Improve Service up to 30% with Remote Desktop Control
      • Stop Struggling with Passwords: Automate to Liberate
  • 14. IT shops with more than ten staff should ensure they have basic incident, change, and problem management processes. Info-Tech Research Group
    • Optimize your help desk by developing the following disciplines.
    • For more guidance, refer to the following Info-Tech resources:
      • Improving IT Service Management
      • Optimizing Your Help Desk
      • Problem Management Eases Help Desk Burdens
      • Beyond Beginner Help Desk Performance Metrics
  • 15. Summary Info-Tech Research Group
    • Resuscitating your help desk restores user and staff satisfaction:
    • Greater end user satisfaction is indicative of solid incident resolution.
    • Happier help desk and IT staff lessens the likelihood of staffing problems.
    • Better IT morale facilitates improved efficiency and productivity.
    • Optimization results in a more responsive help desk:
    • Staff can be proactive and prevent issues before they arise.
    • Help desk structure has greater incident capacity.
    • IT can quickly eliminate incident root causes.
    • Improvements to your help desk build a positive IT image:
    • Users and management will identify with the improvement.
    • IT staff will be more integrated and in communication with the business.
  • 16.
    • Appendices
    Info-Tech Research Group
  • 17. Appendix I: Additional Materials
    • Materials on Help Desk Assessment:
      • Help Desk Assessment Tool
    • Resources on Help Desk Resuscitation:
      • How to Resuscitate a Failing Help Desk
      • “ Is Your Help Desk Drowning ?,” and “ Rescue your Help Desk: Common Problems ” (Videos)
    • Materials on Help Desk Optimization:
      • Driving Down Tickets (Video cast)
      • Want to Save Time and Money? Optimize your Help Desk (Podcast)
      • Leverage Resources and Improve Service up to 30% with Remote Desktop Control
      • Stop Struggling with Passwords: Automate to Liberate
      • Disk Imaging Improves IT Efficiency (Video)
      • Problem Management Eases Help Desk Burdens
      • Beyond Beginner Help Desk Metrics
      • Improving IT Service Management
    Info-Tech Research Group
  • 18. Appendix II: Determining the Appropriate Level of Maturity
    • Assessment results describe the organization’s present help desk environment and recommend best practices for improvement based on the help desk maturity model
    • Moving up the maturity ladder may not be necessary for all as some environments function effectively under existing conditions
    • Moving closer to the organization’s optimal state in the maturity model enables a more efficient allocation of IT resources while increasing the quality of service provided to the end user
    • When appropriate, use Info-Tech’s “Help Desk Performance Tracking Tool” to gauge the organization’s progress toward improved service delivery
    Info-Tech Research Group Optimized Proactive Controlled Reactive Chaos
  • 19. Appendix III: Understanding Help Desk Maturity Info-Tech Research Group 1. Chaos
    • There are no dedicated help desk personnel. IT problems are resolved on an ad-hoc basis by IT or other staff. There are no tools used to consistently track and monitor IT incidents.
    2. Reactive
    • Help desk staff is identified. Prioritization and escalation processes are loosely defined. In some cases, informal or infrequent feedback is solicited from end users.
    • Help desk software is used to track incidents and facilitate workflow. Organizations at this level typically do not fully utilize software functionality. Reporting metrics are limited to number of tickets submitted and number of tickets left open.
    3. Controlled
    • Help desk processes are clearly defined. Tools are introduced for basic self service and knowledge management. In some cases, non-IT individuals informally recognized as ‘power users’ alleviate a number of calls to the help desk.
    • End user feedback is collected on a regular basis. Some additional metrics are tracked to monitor service levels.
    4. Proactive
    • Staff performance is measured with reporting metrics. Non-IT individuals are sometimes formally recognized as ‘power users.’ End users are targeted for training to address recurring preventable issues.
    • Software is introduced to address recurring problems (i.e. provide resolution templates, facilitate a password reset program). In some cases, software is upgraded to an IT Service Management (ITSM) suite.
    5. Optimized
    • Key help desk employees/managers are certified in ITIL. End users are encouraged to take advantage of self-help options.
    • In some cases, help desk software is based on ITIL principles. Online self help tools include F.A.Q. and/or a searchable knowledgebase of problems and resolutions.
  • 20. Appendix IV: Differentiating Between Maturity and Stability In certain cases, immature environments effectively meet the organization’s help desk requirements. Help desk assessment results must be reviewed alongside the following organizational factors. Maturity Does Not Describe Stability Info-Tech Research Group Factors Influencing Assessment Results IT Complexity
    • There are three categories of IT complexity:
    • Simple IT environments consist of individual client applications and/or relatively simple server applications.
    • Midrange IT complexity can describe IT shops with one or more complex server applications that are not tightly integrated or interconnected.
    • Complex IT shops support multiple, complex, tightly integrated and/or interconnected server applications.
    Number of End Users The number of end users IT supports greatly impacts the organization’s optimal help desk maturity. IT shops that support a low number of end users can function effectively with less structure. Number of ‘High Touch’ End Users ‘ High touch’ end users have little to no IT expertise and often require considerable live assistance. The greater the number of high touch users, the greater the demands on the help desk personnel.
  • 21. Appendix V: Moving Up the Maturity Ladder The following chart presents some recommendations for help desk improvement. Info-Tech Research Group Process
    • When moving from a chaotic state, focus on incident management and formally establishing the help desk as the point of contact.
    • Over time, formalize processes, encourage staff to become more proactive in resolving recurring issues, and implement SLAs.
    • If the organization deems it an appropriate fit, adopt ITIL to fully optimize help desk processes.
    Staff
    • Begin by designating a Help Desk Analyst as the first point of contact for all help desk requests.
    • Next, offer staff training to increase resolution rates. Develop performance metrics and use them to formally assess staff performance.
    • In the Optimized stage, encourage staff to attain ITIL certification.
    End Users
    • Provide end user training. Collect formal end user satisfaction feedback as this is an important measure of help desk performance.
    • Identify power users and empower them to alleviate some help desk requests before they reach IT (first in a pilot and then across the organization).
    Technology
    • Begin using a tracking system for call logging, workflow management, and basic reporting and consider an ITSM suite for full integration of asset management, service level management and change management.
    • Implement self service tools first, an automated password reset next, and self help last to ensure end user acceptance.
  • 22. Appendix VI: Case Study Example of a Reactive Help Desk Info-Tech Research Group Company Profile Industry Business Services Number of Employees 275 Number of IT Employees 5 Help Desk Metrics Number of Users Supported 275 # of Dedicated HD Staff 2 Cost as % of IT Budget 20% Total Annual Cost/User $509.00 Total Annual Tickets/User 23.6 % of High Touch Users 10% Key Initiatives Improvements Initiatives Successful
    • Tracking software
    • Remote desktop assistant
    • End user self service
    Key Improvements Going Forward
    • More advanced reporting
    • Service level agreements
    • ITIL
    “ Prior to implementing Track-It!, users would e-mail or call anyone in IT. When you have almost 300 users you get a lot of support calls or e-mails and once it's off your screen, if it's down three or four days below in your inbox, you are going to lose track of it. Now using the work order process and having it automatically done has been very, very, successful for us whereas before we were constantly either forgetting or letting things slip.”
  • 23. Appendix VII: Case Study Example of a Controlled Help Desk Doubled Tier 1 Resolution Rate Info-Tech Research Group Company Profile Industry Education Number of Employees 5600 Number of IT Employees 250 Help Desk Metrics Number of Users Supported 5600 # of Dedicated HD Staff 11 Cost as % of IT Budget 3.5% Total Annual Cost/User $274.00 Total Annual Tickets/User 6.0 % of High Touch Users 5% Key Initiatives Improvements Initiatives Successful
    • Staff training
    • Knowledge management
    • Power users
    • Advanced reporting
    • ITIL (incident management only)
    Key Improvements Going Forward
    • Full ITIL integration
    • End user self help
    • Service level agreement
    “ We s hut the help desk down for 1 hour every Friday and it's reserved for my hands-on staff meeting. We reserve 30 minutes for training, and we also bring in guest speakers from the business, because it's good to hear what their issues are and what they do. As a result, over time our tier 1 resolution rate has doubled.”
  • 24. Appendix VIII: Case Study Example of a Proactive Help Desk 50% Total Cost Savings Info-Tech Research Group Company Profile Industry Retail Number of Employees 1500 Number of IT Employees 60 Help Desk Metrics Number of Users Supported 250 # of Dedicated HD Staff 2 Cost as % of IT Budget 3% Total Annual Cost/User $220.00 Total Annual Tickets/User 6.24 % of High Touch Users 75% Key Initiatives Improvements Initiatives Successful
    • End user self help
    • End user training
    • Knowledge Management
    • Asset Management
    Key Improvements Going Forward
    • Improve self help functionality
    • ITIL
    “ We were able to cut our help desk support by 50% through the implementation of end user self help, end user training, knowledge management and asset management. Our end user feedback has also increased to a 10 out of 10.”
  • 25. Appendix IX: Case Study Example of an Optimized Help Desk ITIL - 10% TCO Savings Info-Tech Research Group Company Profile Industry Business Services Number of Employees 1400 Number of IT Employees 54 Help Desk Metrics Number of Users Supported 1400 # of Dedicated HD Staff 4 Cost as % of IT Budget 5% Total Annual Cost/User $207.00 Total Annual Tickets/User 14.9 % of High Touch Users 25% Key Initiatives Improvements Initiatives Successful
    • End user self service and self help
    • Knowledge management
    • Asset management
    • Power users
    • ITIL
    Key Improvements Going Forward
    • Automated call distribution
    • Automated password reset
    “ Our company has had explosive growth and we have a lot of new people starting so there are a lot of changes and stress on the infrastructure. What we were finding was that a lot of our processes were ad hoc and problems would go unnoticed and persist. So we started looking for a framework that would help us govern our IT processes really well.”